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Old 10-21-2012, 02:50 PM
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For me--the most important factor is to feel safe and comfortable to be my authentic self.

If this isn't present, then it is like trying to build a castle on a bed of sand. It will eventually come tumbling down.

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Old 10-21-2012, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by WishingWell View Post
Can ask you something?

Are you seeing what it is that you are doing that is causing difficulty in your marriage? Are you seeing the part you play in the problems he has with this marriage? Beyond alcohol?

I wonder sometimes with all the finger pointing - are we seeing OUR stuff? What they need and aren't getting from us? If it was only and all the alcohol, when they quit life would be perfect. It doesn't work that way, with an over 50% divorce rate in this country - the issues go much deeper. We all have our faults and therapy is not just to go in there and prove that we're right and they're the bad guy. It's to take a clear look at our own flaws as much as to look at the marriage in general.
I find it really hard to work on relationship issues with someone whose personality changes all the time and who hurts my feelings and destroys my trust to get booze (and lashes out at me in anger). I don't think alcoholism is to blame for everything, but it makes it near impossible to address other issues.
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Old 10-21-2012, 02:55 PM
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I would like for him to be stable, reliable, and pull his weight. Stability and predictability (as in knowing that when he goes away, he will come home sober) are the things I missed most. Also no anger (on my part as well).
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Old 10-21-2012, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Kimmieh View Post
I find it really hard to work on relationship issues with someone whose personality changes all the time and who hurts my feelings and destroys my trust to get booze (and lashes out at me in anger). I don't think alcoholism is to blame for everything, but it makes it near impossible to address other issues.
Agreed.

To address what WishingWell asked: I know my AH's needs aren't being met, but he keeps moving the mark. One day he seems to want June Cleaver, the next day he wants Pamela Anderson, and the next day he wants someone else. I just want him to want me FOR ME.

I would love to meet his needs, I did that for years, and now that trust is shot it's going to take a long time to rebuild it and he's going to have to do his side of the street maintenance. The things he's said over the past year or so have cut me to my core, tore away at my self-esteem, and made me feel inferior. As much as I want to meet his needs, I find it near impossible to go there at this point until he finds real sobriety. The lies and everything else alky have made it difficult for me to take down enough walls to meet his needs. And, I've told him this on numerous occasions as gently as I could.
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Old 10-21-2012, 03:03 PM
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Must love dogs.
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Old 10-21-2012, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by WishingWell View Post
If it was only and all the alcohol, when they quit life would be perfect. It doesn't work that way, with an over 50% divorce rate in this country - the issues go much deeper.
If the alcohol isn't addressed first and foremost, there is no point.
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Old 10-21-2012, 03:39 PM
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Must love cats in addition to dogs. This says a lot about a person. Can be an absolute deal breaker!!!!!


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Old 10-21-2012, 03:42 PM
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someone who doesn't drink excessively or smoke
other than that..

intelligence
respect
sense of humor
emotionally stable
low in anger
responsible
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Old 10-21-2012, 03:49 PM
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My non-negotiables:

Honest
Trustworthy
Respectful
Mentally stable and NOT an addict

Bonuses:

Funny
Enjoys working with his hands
Likes the outdoors
Can at least boil water
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Old 10-21-2012, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by dandylion View Post
Must love cats in addition to dogs. This says a lot about a person. Can be an absolute deal breaker!!!!!


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YES!!! You know, I grew up owning cats and we also kept 2 horses boarded a few miles from our house. I rode Western and did a lot of trail riding as a kid/teen. I met my AH while in college so pets were a bit in my past. My AH is severely allergic to horses and cats, and to my mom's farm. He never comes to visit my mom with me, not in about 15 years anyway. Isn't it weird that I married someone who is deathly allergic to the 2 animals that shaped my pet-hood life? So strange. I was a country girl to some degree, grew up working in the garden, taking care of the pool, tending to the animals, walking in the woods, etc. I married a city dweller. My AH grew up in a row home in Baltimore. They had a patch of 5x5 grass in the front yard. If he hadn't worked for a landscaping company as a teen, he probably wouldn't have known how to use a mower(they used a push mower at his house), LOL!
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Old 10-21-2012, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by WishingWell View Post
Can ask you something?

Are you seeing what it is that you are doing that is causing difficulty in your marriage? Are you seeing the part you play in the problems he has with this marriage? Beyond alcohol?

I wonder sometimes with all the finger pointing - are we seeing OUR stuff? What they need and aren't getting from us? If it was only and all the alcohol, when they quit life would be perfect. It doesn't work that way, with an over 50% divorce rate in this country - the issues go much deeper. We all have our faults and therapy is not just to go in there and prove that we're right and they're the bad guy. It's to take a clear look at our own flaws as much as to look at the marriage in general.
Am I the only one who doesn't like this comment?

I'm not flaming; I just had to get it out.
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Old 10-21-2012, 09:14 PM
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"Things always get so heated during counseling and I get so overwhelmed that I can't think clearly. " Liz, YOU are the victim here, YOU are the one being abused by his alcoholic behavior. And you are also being his enabler in many ways. Your statement suggests to me that you walk and talk on eggshells, and this prevents you from being able to state your needs clearly. Being overwhelmed when asked what you want from your marriage is partially the result of the emotional abuse you have endured over time. I am willing to bet that he belittles most of what you say or do, and interrupts you when you are talking, as if what you are saying isn't important in the least. My advice? LET things get heated, don't let him intimidate you. Tell him by defending his crappy actions, he is trying to justify it to himself; if what he was doing was ok there would not be a need to defend himself to you. This is just another form of verbal and emotional abuse on his part, designed to make you feel uncertain and belittled. Learn to make him responsible for his actions. Late for dinner? Put it away. Trash not taken out? Leave it. Banking not done? Don't do it for him-you get the drift. Now, with those thoughts in mind, make a list of all his crappy actions that seriously affect you, and then on another piece of paper write down the corresponding positive opposite actions you want from him. My counselor had me do this (my ex AH wouldn't go with), and it was a real eye-opener. I came to the conclusion that I didn't want to stay in my marriage. Being with him in the marriage was lonelier than being alone. The other thing she had me do was write down the things I did for ME, and me alone, that I did prior to the marriage. Guess what? I had stopped doing all the things I loved, all the things that made me ME, and losing myself wasn't worth trying to save a one-sided marriage. I hope that you realize that YOU deserve to be happy, and if being happy is so much work, then maybe you need to consider different options. Maybe your counselor isn't so great if you keep feeling too overwhelmed to speak during your sessions. Good luck with whatever you decide to do, I feel your pain, literally.
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Old 10-21-2012, 09:14 PM
  # 33 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by choublak View Post
Am I the only one who doesn't like this comment?
It doesn’t matter if I like the comment or not. I look to see if there is any truth to it.

As much as I pointed fingers at my X, I can now see areas where I contributed to the marriage falling apart. Alcohol, overeating, financial irresponsibility, constant belittling and affairs are all her problem. Nevertheless, what was my part . . . it started with our last year together with me sleeping on the couch every night.
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:12 PM
  # 34 (permalink)  
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None of us is without any blame in our relationship with our A. That much is certain. We have all played one role or another. That's not what this is about, though. Lizatola was asked what SHE wanted in a relatiomship, and what SHE wanted from her AH. I think many of us have gone into abusive relationships knowing these things, but then we let ourselves slowly get sucked in and lose sight of our former selves. Then we get wrapped up in the manipulation and lies, and we start acting in ways that are enabling to our A, and it just cycles around. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Lizatola being able to put herself first, since that is what was asked of her. Part of MC is defining your needs and your partner defining their needs, and going from there.

We also have to remember though, that one half of this scenario is an A. You can't treat an irrational thing rationally, no matter how hard you try. So, I think what the counselor is getting at is that she needs to figure out if she is willing to sacrifice what she wants from her AH and the relationship in order to accept him for who he is, and vice versa. I personally couldn't do it, but I'm not her. And the last I remember, this was about her.
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:05 AM
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I don't think alcoholism is to blame for everything, but it makes it near impossible to address other issues.

I know it does! But when we're in therapy we need to get as much out of it for ourselves as we can! Our therapist doesn't want us to talk about addiction. JEEZ - I was just befuddled the first two session. I mean isn't this ALL about HIS addiction. He kept saying that is a worn-out conversation, neither of you is listening anymore.

So, we started taking about everything else. Much to my unhappiness. "Let's focus on HIM, HE'S the problem." But as we know, that's not the entire picture. I was reading this great book called "Getting Your Loved One Sober" and they mentioned how important it is to improver your communication in marriage, how an unhappy marriage also triggers drinking. I know, Catch 22. SO, for the last nearly 2 months we've talked about everything else and you know what? It feels good. It feels like getting down beneath the elephant is starting the heal us. We're relearning how to talk, how to listen. I'm hearing how he feels, he has legitimate gripes. He's human, he's not an "A" label, he's a man. And yes, he's become addicted and working on sobriety. And I've got my stuff, too.

I have very clear boundaries with him and one of those was therapy. He's not living in the house with me now. Not until I feel comfortable. Everything is on the table.

If we're in therapy - we need to look at OURSELVES. We're not perfect, we trigger stuff in them, too. We've been codependent in our past and are still healing our own addiction to fixing people and always being right. I say, if you're in therapy use it. Go deep with our own issues. If we leave this man - we will be faced with our issues again next time around. If we can learn valuable insights about ourselves, grab it. Might as well heal that part of us - now!

I guess I also see that therapists question as - What do I want in myself?
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Old 10-22-2012, 02:43 AM
  # 36 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by WishingWell View Post
I was reading this great book called "Getting Your Loved One Sober" and they mentioned how important it is to improver your communication in marriage, how an unhappy marriage also triggers drinking.
Being verbally, emotionally and financially abused by a drunken drug addict triggered me to want to stab him however, I chose not to do so.
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:13 AM
  # 37 (permalink)  
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"how an unhappy marriage also triggers drinking"

Sorry. Not true.

Alcoholism is a disease.
Alcoholism triggers the drinking.
A happy or unhappy marriage is no more to blame for the drinking than it could be to blame for cancer or diabetes or mental illness.
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Old 10-22-2012, 03:25 AM
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I reject any idea that a spouse can control, cure or cause an alcoholic to drink.

I reject the idea that if we, the nondrinking spouse, would just TRY HARDER to make the marriage happy and to communicate with the alcoholic that things would get better. This whole idea places the blame or the success for recovery on the non-drinking spouse. This is absurd.

Marriage counseling can't 'cure' alcohlism any more than it can cure cancer or any other disease. Unless and until the alcoholism is treated and the non-drinking spouse is in recovery, marriage counseling isn't going to fix anything. And if it's done by someone who doesn't understand the disease concept of alcoholism, I think it can be very detrimental to the non-drinking spouse. Because ideas like the one stated above...that an unhappy marriage triggers drinking...puts the onus on the sober spouse and gives the drinking spouse an excuse to carry on.

Some people are blessed to have a spouse that finds recovery. That's wonderful. It's a miracle, actually. But not everyone is so blessed. I wasn't so blessed. And no one wanted their marriage to work more than me. Trust me. But sometimes, aloochol destroys everything that is sacred.
For those of you who have a spouse that found recovery, I'm happy for you. I just hope you remember that if your spouse starts drinking again it won't be because of anything YOU said or did. The same holds true if he stays sober. It won't be because of YOU. You aren't that powerful. None of us are. The cure for alcoholism is an INSIDE JOB. Period.
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Old 10-22-2012, 06:05 AM
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WishingWell, nwgrits and outonalimb all make their points.

I think the confusion stems from the word "trigger." While in ordinary parlance, the word "trigger" can mean "cause," in alcoholism and addiction circles it does not.

Take the classic HALT acronym. Hunger, anger, loneliness and tiredness all CAN (but need not) "trigger" drinking/using in an alcoholic/addict. HALT situations increase the risk of drinking/using for the A. However, they do NOT "cause" the alcoholism or addiction.

The point is further made when one considers (as stated in the Big Book of A.A.) that even OPPOSITE poles can be "reasons" to drink (or use). In an A, both a good or earning day at home/work and a bad or poor one, can "trigger" but not "cause" drinking/using.

Additionally, and most importantly, the A can learn NOT to PULL the trigger - for example by keeping HALT in mind. On the other hand, the A cannot "uncause" his or her alcoholism or addiction.

The same goes for an unhappy marriage. Yes, it can (but need not) "trigger" drinking; it can increase the risk of drinking/using. But the unhappy marriage does NOT "cause" the alcoholism or addiction. The A need not pull THAT trigger either.

Even in happy marriages (opposite pole), there can be alcoholism and addiction ... but not for long because they are progressive FAMILY diseases. The alcoholism and addiction increasingly and adversely affect not only the A but also the family members, those closest to the A. A program like Al-Anon can help them live with the A, whether the A is drinking or not. Only in rare cases, can marital counseling help - like that - when a spouse is an active A, or is in rehab or early recovery.


Here are three Myths and Realities from the book "Under the Innfluence by James Milam and Katherine Ketcham (emphasis added):
"MYTH: Addiction to alcohol is often psychological.
REALITY: Addiction to alcohol is primarily physiological. Alcoholics become addicted because their bodies are physiologically incapable of processing alcohol normally. (Chapters 3 and 4)"

MYTH: People become alcoholics because they have psychological or emotional problems which they try to relieve by drinking.
REALITY: Alcoholics have the same psychological and emotional problems as everyone else before they start drinking. These problems are aggravated, however, by their addiction to alcohol. Alcoholism undermines and weakens the alcoholic's ability to cope with the normal problems of living. Furthermore, the alcoholic's emotions become inflamed both when he drinks excessively and when he stops drinking. Thus, when he is drinking and when he is abstinent, he will feel angry, fearful, and depressed in exaggerated degrees. (Chapters 3 and 5)

MYTH: All sorts of social problems - marriage problems, a death in the family, job stress - may cause alcoholism.
REALITY: As with psychological and emotional problems [above], alcoholics experience all the social pressures everyone else does, but their ability to cope is undermined by the disease and the problems get worse. (Chapters 3,4, and 5)
No Catch 22. Just the nature of the family disease AND there is help in Al-Anon, for starters!
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Old 10-22-2012, 06:11 AM
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I'm no angel!
 
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Loyal
Sweet Minded
Good Listener
Friendly
Doesn't shout at me or call me names
Not a fussy eater
Accepts me for who I am
Understands that "No" is a complete sentence
Always happy to see me

I have just described the males that are currently in my life....My Dogs. Think that I'll stick with
them, so much more rewarding.
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